Author(s): FernndezCaldas E, Iraola Calvo V
There is an increasing awareness of the health implications of mite sensitivity, as it is closely related to asthma. Mite allergy constitutes a complex worldwide problem, with sanitary and economical implications. Not only are mite species present in house dust, producing potent allergens, but other, less studied species are also responsible for significant allergic reactions in occupational settings. In this review, we focus on the growing number of mite species that are implicated in allergic cutaneous and respiratory diseases in humans. Mite allergy is not restricted only to the human "indoor" environment, because numerous reports clearly demonstrate that many species that can induce sensitization and symptoms are encountered in occupational settings. An important component of allergy research is the evaluation of the allergenic cross-reactivity to verify to what extent different mite species have unique, species-specific, or cross-reactive allergens. The results of these investigations have important clinical consequences for the diagnosis and treatment of allergic diseases. Internationally standardized mite extracts are needed to compare sensitization rates around the world and clearly establish risk factors associated with sensitization and asthma. In spite of recent controversial results, a significant reduction in the exposure to mite allergens continues to be an important challenge and one of the main goals in the treatment of mite-induced respiratory symptoms. In many cases, this reduction must be achieved in the workplace as well as in the home environment.